Sun, May 28, 2006 - Page 5 News List

PRC detains two activists

AP , BEIJING

Two Chinese activists have been taken away by police in Shanghai as part of a crackdown ahead of the June 4 anniversary of the Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, a human rights group said yesterday.

Mao Hengfeng (毛恆鳳), who has fought China's restrictive one-child policy, was "forcibly taken away by over 10 police officers" on Tuesday and is being held in a detention center, the New York-based Human Rights in China said in a statement.

Xu Yongdao (許永道), who wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking him to intervene on behalf of his jailed dissident son, was taken to a police station and warned against making further complaints, the group said.

Police officers telephoned yesterday in districts overseeing the homes of Mao and Xu refused to confirm the report or give any details. The officers hung up without giving their names.

Authorities routinely clamp down on activists around politically sensitive dates, barring them from leaving their homes or temporarily holding them at secret locations.

The June 4 anniversary is particularly sensitive and the government does not allow public commemorations of the military attack on pro-democracy demonstrations centered around Beijing's vast Tiananmen Square in 1989. Hundreds, if not thousands of people were killed.

Mao served almost two years in a labor camp for her 15-year campaign to abolish China's family-planning policies. Since her second pregnancy in the late 1980s, Mao has reportedly been detained in psychiatric wards, coerced into having an abortion and removed from her job.

The leadership imposed a policy of allowing one child per family about 30 years ago and couples who have unsanctioned children have been subject to heavy fines, job losses and forced sterilization.

Officers who took Mao away on Tuesday told her husband that she had "been detained for violating rules of residential surveillance," Human Rights in China said.

Mao had been placed under surveillance in February on suspicion of disturbing public order and was constantly watched by up to six guards, it said.

Mao's daughter was told on Wednesday that her mother had been transferred, but authorities refused to say where she was, the group said.

Xu, the father of Xu Zhengqing (許正清), wrote a letter on May 19 to Annan, who was visiting China. The letter requested that Annan ask the Chinese government to release his son, who was sentenced to prison for commemorating the death last year of ousted Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang (趙紫陽).

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